This is Doug Gilmour. He was a very good player at 20 and a difference maker who had sustain over a long period of time. As a junior he had a backwards scouting report (“good defensive forward who can score”) to the point where he passed through his first year of draft eligibility.
In his second year of draft eligibility Gilmour stepped forward offensively but still didn’t have a huge impact. St. Louis drafted him, but deep in the 1982 draft (134th overall) and were delighted by a strong final season in junior.
Two of the many quality people who post from time to time on my blog suggested yesterday that Doug Gilmour might be a better comparable for Sam Gagner than my choice (Vincent Damphousse). I’ve decided to look at it more closely for 2 reasons: the two guys commenting are smart people and if it’s true then it’s a very giddy comparable.
As an NHL rookie, Gilmour was already a very composed hockey player:
- He led the Blues in playoff scoring as a 20-year old
- Was +6 on a team that was level at EVs (210-209). That’s impressive, and he did it on a club with some veterans bailing water (Federko was -3, Joey Mullen was -8 and Guy Chouinard was -15 and about to lose his career).
- The team was 62-56 at EVs when he was on the ice.
- He scored just 3 goals on the PP (Blues had 79 of them).
- He scored 1 PK goal (of the 4 St. Louis scored that season).
- His boxcar numbers were 80gp, 25-28-53 .66points-per-game.
- He was 6th in team scoring behind a bunch of veterans.
- He was tied for 3rd on the team in EV goals.
That’s a beauty resume for a 20-year old. However, 2 years is a long time in the development of a hockey player and when that hockey player is Sam Gagner it’s reasonable to assume those two years are going to be strong development seasons. Here’s Gagner’s rookie resume:
- He was -21 on a team that was -15 (174-189) at evens. Gagner’s plus minus is the least impressive on the team considering toughness of minutes. Although we do not know Gilmour’s quality of opposition and can’t compare them directly I think it’s fair to say the gap between the two (even considering age) is fairly wide at this time. This is the area he’d need to improve heavily in the next two seasons for this comparable to pass muster.
- The team was 39-60 at EVs when Gagner was on the ice. Lower event, but also a different era. I suspect Gagner’s “event” number will be higher than Gilmour’s when he’s 20.
- Gagner was 4-12-16 on the Oilers PP as a rookie. Oilers had 54 PP goals.
- His boxcar numbers were 79gp, 13-36-49, .62points-per-game.
- He was 3rd in team scoring behind two veterans.
- He was tied for 8th in EV goals.
I think this shows Gagner has some ways to go but offensively he’s probably going to be better than Gilmour (or at least he’s tracking that way). Scouting reports are always a very good road map in these comparable conversations, and Gilmour’s mentioning “defense” is a significant difference.
We’ll know more one year from now. What is a reasonable expectation for Gagner’s plus minus this winter? Can he cut that puppy in half? If he can, then this comparable will be much more attractive one year from now.